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Are violent acts and substance abuse linked?

Intimate partner violence sometimes happens in conjunction with substance abuse or addiction. It makes sense, because when you're addicted to drugs or alcohol, they cloud your judgment. Intimate partner violence is a serious concern to the public, and it has the potential to disrupt both families and communities.

An interesting fact about those who commit violent acts against their partners is that 20 percent of all men admit that they were using alcohol or illicit drugs prior to the incident. Victims may also report that the people who attacked them were using alcohol or drugs prior to the violent acts.

There is a significant link between substance abuse and intimate partner violence. Excessive alcohol use, for instance, has been strongly associated with intimate partner violence in the past. However, it's important to look at the situation independently to determine if heavy drinking is the cause of the action or an excuse for it.

Approximately 85 percent of victims of intimate partner violence are female. Females are between five and eight times more likely to be a victim of IPV with their partners. That isn't to say that females can't be the perpetrators. In around 25 percent of cases, they are.

As someone accused of domestic violence, it's important to protect yourself, just as it would be important for a victim to protect him or herself. There are two sides to every story, and having a drink doesn't mean you were so intoxicated that you attacked your spouse. Every situation is different, and you have the right to defend yourself from false allegations.

Source: American Society of Addiction Medicine, "Intimate Partner Violence and Co-Occurring Substance Abuse/Addiction," Richard G. Soper, accessed July 14, 2017

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